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Setting up Illustrator for web work

From: Illustrator for Web Design

Video: Setting up Illustrator for web work

As you continue to evolve your workflow inside of Adobe Illustrator, you may find that you need to get a hold of some tools a little bit more quickly, or that you might find that the panel arrangements just don't suit your eye for your particular workflow. In this movie, I am going to be exploring how to set up Illustrator for a web workflow environment. The first thing I am going to do is create a new document by going to File > New. And I'll just accept the defaults by hitting Enter or Return. It does not matter what size document I am working on; I just want to be able to see all of the active panels and tools here inside of the Illustrator environment.

Setting up Illustrator for web work

As you continue to evolve your workflow inside of Adobe Illustrator, you may find that you need to get a hold of some tools a little bit more quickly, or that you might find that the panel arrangements just don't suit your eye for your particular workflow. In this movie, I am going to be exploring how to set up Illustrator for a web workflow environment. The first thing I am going to do is create a new document by going to File > New. And I'll just accept the defaults by hitting Enter or Return. It does not matter what size document I am working on; I just want to be able to see all of the active panels and tools here inside of the Illustrator environment.

Once I have this open, I am then going to come up here to the top-right corner and I am going to find the workspace jump menu. And as is the case with all of the Creative Suite applications, you have various workspaces that you are able to jump to from this menu. You can also go to the Window menu and choose Workspace and find one of the workspaces there. Now anytime I open up an application, whether it be Photoshop or Illustrator, for the first time, I always go through to see if they've added any workspaces so that I can then take those and use them as jumping-off points for my own personal workflow. In this case Illustrator does ship with a Web workspace.

And if I click on the Web workspace, it's going to create a lot of different things on my screen. For instance, you are going to notice that I get a lot of different icons here docked on the left-hand side. I also get access to my symbols and things like that. These are all things that Illustrator believes correspond to a web design workflow. So let's take a look at some of these and customize it a little bit to suit our needs. First up here, we have the Stroke, the Gradient, and of course the Transparency panel. These are all things that I need quick access to at all times. I don't want to find them over here in the tabs hidden, or have to go to the Window menu, so I am very comfortable with those being right there, very easily accessible.

Directly beneath that you are going to see some type options like Character and Paragraph, also the OpenType, which is also a great thing to have a hold of. So these three, those can stay right where they are. We have the Links panel. If you're going to be working with other documents like Photoshop documents, JPEGs, TIFFs, PNGs, whatever they might be from other applications, the Links panel is going to be an essential part of your workflow, so you might want to leave that up. If you are going to be creating exclusively inside of Illustrator, or you are not going to be using any raster graphic from Photoshop, for instance, you can actually get rid of that.

If you want to get rid of this, all you have to do is just undock it like this and then click the little X like that, and it will go away. I will click it away for now, just so we can have something to customize. Right here we have the Attributes. If you open that up, that's going to be things like Overprint Fill and Overprint Stroke, things like that. It's also got some things for image mapping. Now in this case I am not going to be using this very much at all, so I am also going to drag that out and just delete it, just like that. I also have variables. If you are going to be working with any sort of data-driven graphics inside of Illustrator, you can use the Variables section. I am not going to be using those, so again I'll drag those out and close them up.

Then we have the Actions panel. If you don't know what actions are, basically they are a way of recording repetitive steps that you find yourself doing inside of Illustrator, and then playing them back on different objects and documents. It's a great way to streamline your workflows. Now I've got some other things up here that I want to rearrange, for instance the Transform panel. I am not going to be using that a whole lot, so I am actually going to drag that over to the right, and I am going to make the Info panel active. I use the Info panel constantly to let me know exactly where I am in my document for X and Y coordinates. It's also great for resizing objects.

You get the Width and Height properties right here. Great to have that prominently displayed. Swatches, I use swatches all the time, so I like to leave those right where they are. The color, same thing. Symbols, I use symbols quite a bit in my web design workflow, and you might want to check out the chapter that I have on symbols as well a little bit later on, because that's going to cover a lot of different things on how to utilize symbols in your web designs. Another great panel to have prominently displayed in your workspace is the Appearance panel. The Appearance panel is like a book that refers to every single piece of your document, and if you can learn to read the Appearance panel and use it to its fullest potential, you won't even have to use a lot of the panels that I have already pointed out.

The Appearance panel has some amazing capabilities. If you want to know more about the Appearance panel, I would suggest going and watching a course on lynda.com called Illustrator: Rethinking the Essentials by Mordy Golding. Mordy goes through the Appearance panel, how you can use that to analyze documents and also edit documents all from this one panel. It's an amazingly efficient way for working in Illustrator, and I highly recommend it. The Appearance panel here I think needs to be a little bit more prominent, so I am actually going to resize it a little bit to give it a little bit more space. Now, I am also going to be working a lot with responsive designs and multiple screen size designs, like mobile sites, applications, things like that, so I am going to need access to Artboards panel.

The Artboards panel is actually collapsed by default right here. So what I am going to do is I am going to drag that out on its own, and I just did that by clicking on the tab and dragging it out. And then I am going to take Artboards, I am going to drag it right here, and I am going to drop it right beneath the Actions button right there. So I have always got my Artboards easily accessible from right there. The Layers panel, I use layers a lot, so I am actually going to resize that a little bit as well. You'll notice that the Appearance panel has collapsed on me. If yours collapses, just double-click the word Appearance and it should open back up, and you can expand it back up like that. If you want to, you can also collapse the Symbols. So just double-click on Symbols; that will collapse that and give it a little bit more space. And then clicking Layers will expand that out.

So now I have Appearance and Layers. Symbols are still active, but it's just collapsed at the moment. If you wanted to, you can dock those right here along the left-hand side. As a matter of fact, I think I'll do that. Let's go ahead and drag Symbols down here, Brushes right beneath that. I use brushes occasionally, not much. And then Graphic Styles, I do use graphic styles quite a bit, so there we go. And so now I have my big panels that I need to see all of the time, which are Info, Appearance, and Layers, all right here, all prominently displayed. I also have easy access to Color and the Color Guide.

I have access to Transform. And then all the things that I use a lot, but I don't necessarily need open all the time are displayed right here in this little Side Dock. Now I have modified the original Web workspace here inside of Illustrator, so what I need to do is go up to the Workspace drop menu, go down and choose New Workspace. I am going to call this Justin's Web Workspace. You can call it whatever you want and then hit OK. And so now I am working in Justin's Web Workspace. Anytime I need to get back to that, I can go back up to the jump menu and choose that. If I make a mistake or rearrange something, I can always go back and reset it. I can do anything I need just like that.

If I need to jump into another workspace, no problem. Let's say I'm working on a brochure and I need to go to Printing and Proofing. I can hop right into that, and then instantly jump back into Justin's Web Workspace right there at the top, and it switches me right back. Now right now you maybe thinking that you simply don't know enough about your own personal workflow to know what you need and what you don't. And that's okay. I just wanted to give you an idea of how to rearrange and reorganize everything inside of Illustrator so as you continue to collect information about the tools and options that you use most often, you'll be able to then put those in play and create your own workspace whenever you feel comfortable.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Illustrator for Web Design
Illustrator for Web Design

67 video lessons · 25431 viewers

Justin Seeley
Author

 
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  1. 1m 13s
    1. Welcome
      50s
    2. Using the exercise files
      23s
  2. 43m 51s
    1. Designing for screens
      1m 57s
    2. Decoding screen size and resolution
      2m 40s
    3. Exploring the Illustrator to HTML workflow
      3m 42s
    4. Setting up Illustrator for web work
      6m 55s
    5. Creating a new document for web
      6m 25s
    6. Creating a new document for mobile
      3m 31s
    7. Using artboards for responsive layouts
      7m 42s
    8. Creating email newsletter documents
      4m 31s
    9. Working with Pixel Preview and anti-aliasing
      6m 28s
  3. 25m 28s
    1. Adjusting color settings
      6m 47s
    2. Understanding web color
      3m 47s
    3. Creating a color palette
      5m 4s
    4. Creating custom swatches
      4m 50s
    5. Working with fills and strokes
      5m 0s
  4. 13m 15s
    1. Exploring the Layers panel
      5m 21s
    2. Renaming and grouping layers
      7m 54s
  5. 24m 5s
    1. Drawing simple shapes
      4m 16s
    2. Working with Pathfinder
      5m 4s
    3. Using the Shape Builder tool
      4m 33s
    4. Creating symbols
      6m 24s
    5. Editing and replacing symbols
      3m 48s
  6. 20m 22s
    1. Planning your project
      2m 56s
    2. Using guides and rulers
      5m 56s
    3. Developing a layout with shapes
      6m 21s
    4. Using a grid system
      5m 9s
  7. 25m 53s
    1. Exploring the rules of typography
      4m 1s
    2. Using text as text vs. using text as an image
      3m 37s
    3. Understanding web-safe fonts
      1m 46s
    4. Creating and using paragraph styles
      5m 16s
    5. Creating and using character styles
      3m 2s
    6. Simulating the CSS box model
      8m 11s
  8. 21m 17s
    1. Understanding object appearance
      4m 43s
    2. Applying and editing live effects
      3m 34s
    3. Creating and using drop shadows
      3m 13s
    4. Creating more flexible rounded rectangles
      3m 17s
    5. Saving appearance as graphic styles
      6m 30s
  9. 35m 57s
    1. Starting with a wireframe
      5m 23s
    2. Adding master elements
      6m 45s
    3. Creating navigation buttons
      13m 34s
    4. Working with photographs
      5m 50s
    5. Simulating pages with artboards
      4m 25s
  10. 54m 45s
    1. Creating video placeholders
      10m 33s
    2. Creating buttons
      13m 1s
    3. Creating form fields
      8m 15s
    4. Creating radio boxes and checkboxes
      5m 11s
    5. Creating progress bars
      10m 12s
    6. Creating tabbed interfaces
      7m 33s
  11. 35m 28s
    1. Understanding slicing
      3m 26s
    2. Slicing up a mockup
      3m 6s
    3. Understanding web file formats
      5m 33s
    4. Exploring the Save for Web dialog
      3m 50s
    5. Optimizing photographs
      4m 29s
    6. Optimizing transparent graphics
      4m 43s
    7. Saving Retina display graphics
      3m 46s
    8. Exporting SVG graphics
      6m 35s
  12. 9m 29s
    1. Understanding image sprites
      3m 4s
    2. Creating a sprite grid
      4m 36s
    3. Optimizing sprites for the web
      1m 49s
  13. 15m 29s
    1. Placing Illustrator Smart Objects
      3m 22s
    2. Sharing color swatches between apps
      2m 9s
    3. Exporting Illustrator artwork as a PSD
      3m 49s
    4. Importing artwork into Fireworks
      2m 41s
    5. Exporting HTML from Illustrator
      3m 28s
  14. 1m 19s
    1. Taking the next step
      1m 1s
    2. Goodbye
      18s

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